Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
150th Anniversary Chancellorsville Event
May 3-5, 2013
May 4-5, 2013
We arrived here from the roads around the greater Washington area, and it is a wonder that south of washington that the supply trains clog the roads such that event the troops are delayed unmercifully. Yet, we arrived in the mid afternoon, and found the cam grounds of the USV Third Regiment back against a fine tree line, with a clear field to our front, rolling down to a plain before the turnpike. Lt.Col. Peacock had the camp in order, and all was well. We set out camp quickly, and started to get comfortable.
Colonel Buffington aarrived about dusk, and we got him set up in short order. Our humble staff proceeded to a officers call at US HQ at 8:00pm. There was the usual kerfluffle, introductions, smoke, and whiskey. The discussions of details and the plans for tomorrow were reviewed and orchestrated. We then adjourned back to camp for a cold nights shiver. The Virginia weather was against us, and the night was sharp. The morning dawned clear, but cold and breezy. The boys got their breakfasts together and the morning reports showed 99 men in five companies. Colonel Buffington went on sick call after morning report, and left Lt.Col. Peacock in command of the regiment.
The morning was to bring the formation and the march to Jackson's Flank Attack. We were portraying the 17th Conn. Vols. of the XXI Corps under O.O.Howard, or as we were named, "Howard's Cowards". Once marched to the far right of the army, we were posted in a fireld beyond a ditch. There we enjoyed camp life, and read letters, and cooked coffee. We were surprised by a large force of Confederates that appeared on our flank, and we were called into heavy skirmish line. This was done with some disorder, but the boys in skirmish did hold for a time, as the tide of the attack rolled over us. We were ordered to retreat, and at the ditch, used it to our advantage, once again delaying the rebel hoard. The pressure was too much, and we caved, and ran towards the nion main lines. We were not able to run through any lines, but were able to make for teh canter between two separated wings, that were being pinned back against each other. The chaos contined in the internals of the line, and the battle ended with the Union pushed back against the river, and surrounded by the rebel army.
We stacked arms in line, and took a break for dinner, rest, and relaxation. We were sharing and eating haversack contents and lying around, napping, and talking. After swapping out the red crescents for red diamonds, and we were called into line as the 63rd Pennsylvania. The battle of Hazel Grove was developing to our front. We were marched out, and placed on the extreme right flank of the army. We were told to be vigilent for attack, which came in spades in a short time. We moved forward, and were able to stall the attack on our front. Yet, towards the center of the line, they were retreating and changing fron to the right. We were obliged to fall back and extend that line, of be cut off, and targets of our own men. We joined that line, and the left wing or the army then moved all the way to the right, and extended the line some more. Then, the new left advanced, obliqued, and got in our front, then got pushed back, boxing us in behind the lines. Col. Yuong hollored over to Col. peracock, to move out of the box, and tag on to his right, then roll up the rebel left flank in spades. We immediately moved to the opportunity, and executed it with a tremendous Union push. The rebels caved and ran away. Whoops and cheers went up from our lines, and then the caese fire was heard. The field was indeed scattered aith our casualties, yet the survivors had prevailed! A captured Confederate General complimented out Lt. Col. on a great maneuver, and said, "I never seed Yankeess fight like that before!"
Back to camp, and orders came for an officer's call at US HQ for 5:00pm. The meeting went over the details of the days reports, and also the plans for the morrow. It was also a review of the coming campaigns for the summer, and the expectations of command of the logistics for the season.
Back to camp, and a good rest for supper, and dress parade. Our USV Third Battalion had 99 effective, but no music. We asked USV Principal Musician Salisbury for assistance. He agreed, adn at 7:00pm, cam to our parade with the full brigade field music. It was a great show of USV solidarity, and was appreciated by all of our boys. We spent another chilly evening under the cloudless and cold Virginia spring skies.
Morning came, and the reports cam in from the company orderlies. The effective was 88 aggregate. The scenario was to be the battle of Salem Church, and the red crosses were passed to the boys, as we were today, the New Jersey Blues ! As we marched from the outskirts of fredericksburg, towards the Wilderness, the column was moving by the righgt flank down narrow roads. At some point, the advance guard returns with news of rebels heading east towards our advance, and so we deployed in line of battle to greet them. The result was that the anemy also deployed, and a good stand up linear battle went on for some time, first the Yankees pushing, then the Rebels pushing, and finally, after a prolongerd toe to toe engagement, the Rebels prevailed, and we were ordered to dis engage and retreat and form a new defensive line. The enemy did not pursue, and likely formed their own defensive line as well.
Back in camp once more, the general was sounded, the camp struck, the wagons loaded, and the march underway. All was well with a good campaing together. Cool weather, tall grass, ticks and chiggers, who would not want to be a soldier?
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Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.